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PJ Harvey , in full Polly Jean Harvey , born October 9, , Corscombe, near Yeovil, England , British singer-songwriter and guitarist whose mythically pitched, fanatically intense recordings and concerts set new standards for women in rock. Harvey, born to countercultural parents in rural England , seems to have grown up with a sense of rock as simply another elemental force within the landscape. The song , like many others by Harvey, treats female sexuality as a ravaging, haunted force, but, instead of acting the victim, she theatrically embodies her obsessions , equates them with the alluring menace of rock and the blues , and builds herself into an archetype. In other hands—for example, those of the postpunk rocker Nick Cave , one of her major influences—such moves would run the risk of absurdity. But Harvey controls her self-presentation with extraordinary care: a skeletal figure with brightly reddened lips and an enigmatic smile, she uses polished diction even as the narrative takes her from teasing murmur to throttled scream.
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Harvey began her career in when she joined local band Automatic Dlamini as a vocalist, guitarist and saxophone player. The band's frontman: John Parish , become her long-term collaborator. The trio released two studio albums, Dry and Rid of Me before disbanding, after which Harvey continued as a solo artist.
Chief among them was Bob Dylan who was on frequent rotation and his impact is clear. Lyrics-wise Dylan has been a clear influence. Harvey shares his creative wanderlust, changing from album to album, but she also eschews the autobiographical in favour of strange snap shots, real world events, tall tales, heartbreakers, love songs and more. This not only produced the album, but it provides the basis for a documentary that filmmaker Seamus Murphy simultaneously created with Harvey. You can discover more about the project in this YouTube video. Lifelong friends, Parish helped Harvey to gain her musical chops both through record recommendations and by recruiting her into his band Automatic Dlamini. Harvey has also exhibited her own sculptures in her native Bridport and she has discussed a new love of painting in oils, something she says she intends to share with the public in due course. Her artistic endeavours also include poetry, performing her works live and publishing her first book, The Hollow of the Hand, in , and this has had a strong influence on her music. A key formative influence, she learnt the instrument between the ages of 11 and 17 — doing her grades — but when it came to making her own music it was notable by its absence as she turned against her teenage passion… until The Hope Six Demolition Project. Not only was the studio full of saxophones, as you can see from the YouTube trailer for the album — Blur collaborator Mike Smith was among the players recruited for sessions — but Polly was repeatedly pictured playing her sax in press shots.